conuly: (disaster)
I'm going to need to decide on our next book pretty fast. Ana is pushing for Harriet the Spy, but I'm not really sure. We'll probably finish it Sunday, as Jenn's at work for the day and I'll be with the girls.

Like I said, it's a really weird feeling re-reading the book after all this time, and knowing what I do about how it all ends. Every time we get to a part that I know is foreshadowy, and that I'd forgotten about, I feel all weird about it. I actually burst out laughing when "Harry had an uncomfortable feeling that Snape could read minds". Really, Harry? You don't say!

"Why are you laughing, Connie?"
"Oh... nevermind, it won't really be funny for several books, and we're not going to read them that fast."

At school they're encouraged to predict events while reading, and I'm delighted to see that they've successfully guessed that Snape is out to kill Harry and get the stone for himself. They haven't tied this all to ol' Moldy, but that's all right. Boy, is it going to be fun to see their faces when the plot is twisted! I'm all twitchy with anticipation!
conuly: (disaster)
(And I have no intention of going through the series in one big lump either. Book 1 is fine for their ages, but book 7? NOT EVEN CLOSE. I'm going to stretch it out a bit.)

Reading any of my Old Favorites is like this, and one reason I insist on reading a chapter book with them even as they're outgrowing daily doses of shared picture books. (Well, Ana is, she reads them on her own mostly now, Evangeline still needs it because she can't read yet... but we'll get on this in a minute.) But Harry Potter is, well, Harry Potter. It has had so much massive (massive) discussion.... Well!

And now this leaves me with dilemmas. Should I point out to the nieces the small size of Harry's year (along with the fannish muttering that this implies a massive die-off and lack of births during and just after the first war)? Should I mention all the meaningful names as they show up? Like, if we get to PoA, should I point out that Remus is basically named Wolfy McWolfman? (A name like that is just asking for trouble. It's like Swiper on Dora. WHAT was his mom THINKING? If she'd named him "Giver" or "Sweetie" instead he'd never be a pain!) Should I mention what we know about Dean Thomas from interviews, namely that his dad was a wizard who got killed for turning down the DE? Man, I feel like one of those people who worries that their child might grow up thinking Greedo shot first!

Of course, I can't even remotely do accents when reading, so I feel silly every time I get to one of them whose accent is clearly spelled out (mostly Hagrid). How do other people handle accents when reading, anyway?

As far as Evangeline goes, I asked her teacher what level she is so I can clear out some of our older books (which I'll do when she goes back to school - she and her sister are home sick today), and her teacher said "D". This is pretty much where she ought to be at the end of this year, so I'm not concerned - she's not at all behind, nor is she so far ahead that she's likely to be bored.

Except yesterday I caught her reading "The Fire Cat", which is... not D level. But I'm thinking she may have had it partially memorized.

Ana, for her part, has discovered a profound addiction to graphic novels. She started with Rapunzel and now... sheesh. I know precious little about graphic novels for her age, but I'm learning fast!

Well, that last part was random. Let's get back to what's important - Harry Potter, and also - what are we reading next? (No, really. What ARE we reading next?)
conuly: image of Elisa Mazda (Gargoyles) - "Watcher of the City" (watcher of the city)
1. To the guy telling his friends how "weird" it was that "avada kedavra sounds like abracadabra!":

Yeah, welcome to two books ago. Or two movies, whatever.

2. To the kidlet in the scarf and hat:

Seriously? It's cold for summer, but it's not that cold. And England is warm some of the time. Surely you can show your fandom some other way? (Ah, well, who am I to criticize?)

3. To Donna Andrews:

Yea, verily, your books are the only murder mysteries I've ever read that reference slash, and, in the last one, (And not like it's some new thing the protagonist has just found out about! Will wonders never cease!) But you may want to hire a new proofreader. "Pigeon Chinese" is bad enough, but buried at the end of a book with theme naming (she needs to update that page, btw), it's... a bit much.

4. To the authors of the picture maze book I picked up for the flight:

A. Picture mazes are awesome. (They're not what you think, either.) But as for the last two... Orlando Bloom and Daniel Radcliffe? Right next to each other? Every time I close the book it's like their unrevealed faces are kissing! (Actually, that might not be such a bad thing. I'll be in my bunk now.)
conuly: (Default)
I want people to stop - just stop - with the Healing Power of Luna Lovegood.

I'm so tired of random characters coming across Luna, taking her seriously, and being totally healed of all their prejudices and, incidentally, inner turmoil. Life doesn't work that way.

I'm also tired of everybody who runs across Luna being surprised that other people might ever be mean to this girl, and becoming bestest fwends. Life doesn't work like that either. Most people coming across Luna during school would probably act just like her housemates - hiding her things, taunting her, and generally being annoying bullies. And most people *outside* of school would pretend they were too grown-up for that, yet would still probably exclude her just because she's too different to get along with for most of them. (It's very interesting how in fic nobody is presented who used to bully Luna. No, somehow they were always either mostly oblivious or, at worst, they watched and felt guilty. One wonders why her stuff went missing every year, then....)

I appreciate that a lot of people either see themselves as Lovely Luna, or would like to, but - it doesn't work. (What's more, it turns poor Luna from a character into a kinda annoying, sueified plot device. Why doesn't she get to angst and have inner turmoil and occasionally learn new things? Poor girl.)
conuly: (Default)
But I was looking up "primrose" to see what it signifies (I can't live without you; early youth; young love) and "petunia" apparently means "resentment, anger" but also "your presence soothes me" and "never despairing". Now I have a guilty notion to seek out all the dratted flower names JKR saw fit to fill her books with - what is it with her and flower names, anyway? (Lupin, apparently, means "voraciousness" as well as "admiration", which I'm sure is very interesting no matter whom you pair him with.)
conuly: (Default)
I occasionally (very occasionally - but then, I don't seek this stuff out) come across HP fic where, in an attempt to redeem Petunia Dursley we're informed that her husband is a physically abusive dolt. Abusive to her, that is, and sometimes little Dudders as well.

I'll be the first to say that the treatment of Harry, as presented in the books (though I wonder sometimes if maybe it was originally intended as hyperbole, until JKR realized she wanted to write about Serious Subjects), but I'll note that we never actually see him hit the kid. Overblown threats, but no actual violence. (Which is not to say that it didn't happen, and certainly letting your kid beat up another kid isn't exactly being non-violent, but I'm trying to describe what the books say here.)

More importantly, though, whenever Petunia puts her foot down in any way - he listens. Remember that first chapter? He goes through a whole day of trying to ignore the strange happenings before finally deciding, nervously, to bring up the subject to his wife - nervously because he knows she'll be upset. SHE'S the one who pretends she's an only child - she got mad at him! He's not beating her up to maintain this silence. This might, in fact, be the only time in the series that he's presented as anything approaching a sympathetic, three-dimensional character.

We're told later in the book that he would have shipped Harry off to an orphanage, but didn't. Why? Because clearly his wife insisted on keeping him, for whatever reasons of her own.

Heck, when he tried to kick Harry out during book... what was it, five? All Petunia had to say was no, and he dropped the subject.

I think it's great that people want to flesh out some of that family. Terrific. But let's not all pretend that she was secretly a nice woman who was herself being abused. There's no support for this at all in the text, is there?
conuly: (Default)
Win a visit to London to read Tales from Beedle the Bard

Want to get your (gloved) hands on J.K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard? wants to send you and a friend to London, England to spend a weekend with the rare and delightful book of fairy tales (security guards included, of course), handwritten and illustrated by J.K. Rowling herself. Open to muggles ages 13 and older in 24 countries, the Beedle the Bard Ballad Writing Contest challenges you to creatively answer one of the following three questions in 100 words or less:

• What songs do wizards use to celebrate birthdays?
• What sports do wizards play besides Quidditch?
• What have you learned from the Harry Potter series that you use in everyday life?

English-language submissions will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. PDT April 22, 2008. An committee will select 10 semi-finalist submissions (based on creativity and writing style) from each of two age categories: 13-17 and 18-and-over. customers will determine the two finalists and Grand Prize winner by voting for their favorites. The Grand Prize includes round-trip airfare, two nights lodging at a London hotel, as well as an expense allowance. Plus, each of the finalists from the two age groups will receive an Amazon Gift Certificate in the amount of $1,000.

If you want to enter the contest, you're running out of time!
conuly: (Default)
JKR's flash-only site is nifty, even if it suffers the flaw of being flash-only.

So why on earth is her text-only site so... uh... ugly?
conuly: (Default)
Man, that was the least helpful comment thread ever.

I do not think I really want to advertise my bad taste in fanfiction, but here it is. (I also watch made-for-TV Lifetime and Disney Channel movies, so you get some idea, I hope.)


Dec. 21st, 2007 12:07 am
conuly: (Default)
I seem to remember a fanfic I read a while back, and totally forgot about.

Harry and Dudley both had been attacked by werewolves. Other Dursleys killed. Adopted (?) by McGonagall and renamed. Filch was actually believably likable. (There's only one E in that word? Since when?) Everything was going different, but for believable (more or less) reasons.

Title almost certainly had moon or wolf or both in it, but what do you expect?

conuly: (Default)
Fan logic puzzles.

I thought I knew all of what the dark side of fandom had to offer, but I was wrong. Very wrong.
conuly: (Default)
I do believe that there are gay people in the Potterverse. I do believe some of those people are not old dead guys who never had *requited* love.

But when I'm reading your fic, and Harry is gay, and Draco is gay, and Seamus and Dean are both gay (and alive), and all the little kidlets are gay, and 5 out of 7 Weasleys are gay, and nobody appears to be bi...

Somebody in this group has to be fucking the opposite sex, okay? The whole of Hogwarts for seven years (and then some) cannot all be gay. Gay is good, but some of you? You seem to have worse math skills than JKR herself....

Make them all bi, whatever. But once in a while, at least some of the characters have to have standard PIV sex, if only to make babies.

I know, Harry needs to have 20 zillion people telling him that it's not wrong to be gay, but they don't all have to be gay to say that.
conuly: (Default)
And some of them are mentioning that the one outed gay character having exactly one unrequited love (who was evil) in his past and, presumably, being celibate the rest of his life is OMG homophobic.

Which it might be, I don't know. But I don't really think that this is a sign of JKR's views about gay people. It's more a sign of how she views relationships in general - you seem to have your one true love, and you're stuck with them. FOREVER. Even if they become evil. Even if you throw a nasty slur at them and they never speak to you again. Even if the fact that he's adopted your mom as a quasi-foster mom gives your entire relationship creepy incest vibes, or your family disowns you, or you just aren't right for each other, pregnancy notwithstanding, or whatever - everybody seems to ultimately end up with just one person.

And this is a very sweet and touching way to look at the world. It is. Imagine - you fall in love, you marry your high school sweetheart, awwwww.

It's not very realistic, but we're talking about a world with magic in it. How realistic do we expect it to be, exactly?

(And why hasn't somebody asked the all-important question yet? Why did she decide to stop calling Hermione waspish?)
conuly: (Default)
Severus Snape wasn't that old.

Think about it. He must've been about 20 when Harry was born, so at the end of the series he couldn't've been older than 37 or maybe 40. Which means when the series *starts* he's got to have been in his early 30s, which isn't as old as the books make him appear, especially as wizards seem to live longer.

I mean, reading the books, didn't you picture somebody... older?
conuly: (Default)
She may overuse her adverbs, she may consistently tell instead of show, she may very well need an editor - but damn if she doesn't have a gift for writing fairy tales. I mean, that actually sound like they could be traditional fairy tales!
conuly: (Default)
As an example, Bar-Hillel points to a conversation at the beginning of Book Seven, in which Mrs. Weasley orders her son, Ron (Harry’s good friend), to clean his room.
Chafing at the order, Ron starts to say, “Why in the name of Merlin’s saggy left …” before he is interrupted by his father, who scolds him not to talk to his mother like that. We never find out what noun Ron was going to use at the end of the sentence. The omission creates a problem for Bar-Hillel because in Hebrew, adjectives are placed after the nouns they modify. Without knowing exactly what item or body part of Merlin’s was saggy and on the left, Bar-Hillel will be hard-pressed to translate Ron’s question without using judicious guesswork.

“I’ll either have to decide on a noun or completely rearrange what he was going to say in some creative way,” Bar-Hillel predicted."

Okay, now, come one now, everybody, 'fess up. I think we all know exactly what item or body part of Merlin's was saggy and on the left, don't we? Indeed, I do believe this is time for a well-placed poll! )


Aug. 2nd, 2007 12:25 am
conuly: (Default)
Wherein Harry Potter thanks everybody for their birthday wishes. Individually.

Spoilery, of course, but still - lots of fun!
conuly: (Default)
But I thought I'd update you all on yesterday, aka Burmese New Year.

We all went out (to Elise's new school, yay!) and, after a brief period of eating food and (for me) making special emergency trips for some urgent supplies (you know what I mean, and if you don't, I'm sure you can guess)...

After all that, we ran around splashing each other with semi-wild abandon. Hey, it's the reason for the season!

Today, it is rainy. This is much less exciting than buckets of water.

Off-topic, am I the only one surprised that nobody in the last book Minor spoiler )
conuly: (Default)
Spoilery )

(And if I'm wrong, somebody please correct me and I'll hie me to a bookstore after the water festival tomorrow.)

Quote (not very spoilery) )

So, the entire second half of the book is Read more... ) But honestly, I kinda expected that, so it was fine.
conuly: (Default)
Maybe I'll get around to reading it next week. Don't want to buy it, must read in store or download... which is somehow an ethically trickier ground than bookstore reading.


Jul. 17th, 2007 01:07 am
conuly: (Default)
There's a spoilery HP image that's being trolled all over. Could be real, could be unreal, I don't know. If you're concerned, go offline now and hide out until you've read the book.

All I know is that if CENSORED really CENSORED CENSORED, that's gonna mess up a lot of CENSORED fanfic!

And is it just me, or is it absolutely, positively, no question about it, just plain wrong that the bootleg bookstands are taking reservations for this book? They're selling stolen or illegally copied books! WTF? Seriously. What. The. Fuck?
conuly: (Default)
What really struck me is the quote from the book...:

"Thoughts about sex enter a woman’s brain perhaps once a day, but in a man every time he sees an attractive woman."


Let's have a quick, informal poll....

[Poll #961483]

Please... be honest. Remember, this is for posterity.
conuly: (Default)
But I could not resist posting a transcript of Jesus' stay at Hogwarts.

Real? Troll? Who knows? Who cares? This is quality fun.
conuly: (Default)
And in it they mentioned a Jewish-run bodega, which really dragged me away from the story.

Jewish people, in my experience, don't run bodegas. They have delis, or corner stores, or kosher delis (any of these can be run by non-Jews as well), but not bodegas. Hispanics or Koreans are more likely to run bodegas.

And then I'm thinking, why is that? Is it just me (and my mom)? Or what? (And is it just me who thinks of a bodega as any corner store that happens to also sell flowers? That's not what the word means, but that's what I think of.)

Interestingly, Merriam-Webster is telling me that bodega is cognate with apothocary, which would be interesting in an HP fic :)
conuly: (Default)
And it's Hermione Granger's birthday.

And it's Talk Like a Pirate Day.
And it's Hermione's birthday.

Talk Like a Pirate.
Hermione's birthday.






No, really, think about it!

*waits while people think*

See? Do you see how awesome that would be?

C'mon. You know you wanna do it. Make Hermione... into a pirate. It'll be fun! I may even write something, and I never do that, I'm far too self-conscious.

Hermione Pirate Day. Be there. Yar.

Bonus points if you manage to drag Fraggles into this somehow.

Or smurfs. I like smurfs. Everybody likes smurfs. More smurfs!
conuly: (Default)
1. In Harry Potter, do the Wizards have a Deaf community? Would their spells be completely different, or would they have to simply adapt to saying things aloud that they couldn't hear? Would they sign "broom for sweeping" differently for "broom for flying" just because? Because, I mean, I totally would.

2. In keeping with that, do very different areas (Asia, Australia, the Americas) separate from Europe have entirely different spells? Maybe spells that only translate partially, not entirely? Like, Summoning Spells in England bring things right to you, but maybe Summoning Spells in Ethiopia drop them five feet away on the ground, and maybe in Japan they hover above your head....

3. How do we know wandless magic is really rare/impossible? It seems logical that wizards had to, at one point, invent wands - and to do that, they must have already had some form of controlled, wandless magic. Perhaps it's simply a lost or mostly-lost art, rather like flint knapping. (I know people have gone through this before, but the question appeared to me now, so now I type it up)

4. Why is that spelled knapping?

5. Why would one want to tickle a sleeping dragon? That seems especially foolhardy and pointless.

6. Why are both Weasley parents redheads? I know there's a high level of inbreeding going on with Purebloods, but still! It doesn't seem to me that we've seen any other redheads in the series....

7. Is it just me, or are Wizards an awful lot like Borrowers, taking things from the rest of the world and then thinking they came up with them themselves?

8. Why is the scoring in Quidditch so messed up? I know JKR sucks at math(s), but this is absurd!

9. What if every book, every story, every stupid fanfic (even the really bad ones) were true in an alternate universe? Is this a scary thought or a fun one?

10. Is Hermione's method of completely and totally assimilating into Wizarding society, to the point where she seems to hardly ever see her parents (much less ever tell them anything about her life) normal? Or do other kids usually have more resistance?

11. Tell me again why Wizards, with their portkeys and floo system and apparation, don't have primary schools...? They really ought to get on that.

12. Tell me again why Hogwarts has no facilities for the mundane aspects of education, like "how to write" and "literature" and "basic mathematics"? Or even "foreign languages"? Most jobs in the Wizarding world seem to be identical to their Muggle counterparts, except that the people involved can use magic. How did Rita Skeeter even learn to write articles? It certainly wasn't at Hogwarts - and I can't imagine entering any form of journalism course with only the education in that respect attained by age eleven (with a few intervening years of practical experience but no direct instruction).

13. How many Squibs, would you say, are killed by their well-meaning (or not) parents? Much like real-life changelings of old, they can't be a desired outcome by most.

14. Why are the Squibs we know so tied to the Wizarding world? If I were a Squib, and I were otherwise me, I'd want to get as far away from the Wizarding world as possible, straight into the culture where my lack of magic was normal, not disabling and pitiful. How self-loathing does Filch have to be to voluntarily spend so much time in a school full of children who hate him and who can do things he can't?

15. Why do Wizards respect current (Muggle) national boundaries? When the Statute of Secrecy was signed, the political map was entirely different! Why are American Wizards not English instead? Or, why did they divide the same way? Maybe, while Muggles were having the Civil War in the US and the North won, Wizards had a similar war and the nation was divided into little bits, each state or region being independent unto itself. Now, that would make for some interesting fics.
conuly: (Default)
There's actually a town called Ottery St. Mary. Who knew?

(And who knew I could find out such interesting trivia by searching up the correct spelling of meridiem, either?)
conuly: (Default)
I used to know a guy named Sirius.

No, seriously. He lived down the block from me, hung out with my friend Alexis occasionally, and I think his mother drove me to my 8th grade graduation because, after all, it was his graduation too.

And people think it's such a weird name because it's all HP-esque.
conuly: (Default)
You know how certain people send their kids (or chose themselves to go) to programs to make them stop being gay? Mostly religious folk, right?

And I suppose there may be an overlap between this group and groups that dislike fantasy on general principles....

So... do you think, in Harry Potter's world, there are groups for "recovering wizards and witches"? I bet somebody's already written a fic on it....

(On a side note, yesterday I read one where we discover that after Harry killed Voldie the first time, the wizarding world slowly got into the groove again and had a baby-boom - so instead of 10 kids per house per year, we now have 25 or so. Harry's feelings of guilt over saddling his friends with dealing with so many first years were just about the only things I liked about it, but it was a good point, have to admit.)
conuly: (Default)
You'd think there wouldn't be, seeing as how Slytherin was opposed (possibly even for good reasons, read a great fic about that a while back which I should've bookmarked....) to having muggleborns in the school.

But... Slytherin isn't the one deciding who goes where. Everybody believes the hat is. The hat which *Gryffindor* made. (And I, personally, believe that the hat is just confirming the student's own choice as to which house they belong in, but that's another issue.)

The hat only lists "ambition" as the requirement for getting into Slytherin, right? Not some degree of pure blood, that sort of thing...? So couldn't some naive muggleborn who hasn't somehow heard what "all Slytherins are like" think that it's just the place for them?

They'd regret it, but... is it possible?
conuly: (Default)
In GoF, we find out that he's got a fair level of natural resistance to Imperius, which he strengthens considerably in just three easy lessons (and why *did* Crouch bother actually teaching him to resist this curse? Wasn't that counterproductive to his ultimate goal? Would he have been unveiled so easily if he hadn't?). The implication is that he's not very prone to outright magical manipulation. Anybody wanting to mess with his mind has to resort to some trickery, as they do in OotP, convincing him that Sirius is dead.

Skip ahead to book 6. The luck potion works, apparently, like Imperius - it tells you what to do, and you do it. And he doesn't even question it! Why is this?

And does the luck potion give you what you *want* or what you *need*? For example, let's say that using this potion before a Quidditch game and getting caught will land you in deep trouble with the wizarding mob. But you're stupid, so you do it anyway. Would the luck potion help you (or your team) win the game, or would it help you save your damn skin? Or does it go for broke, and both help you win the game *and* keep the mob from finding out what you did, by somehow eliminating the evidence even after it's worn off?
conuly: (Default)
If this site is to be trusted, Draco is the same constellation in Arabic, but it's called (transliterated) "At-Tinneen".

*considers that*

I like it!

Hey, it makes a nice change from all those fanfic writers I've seen scrambling to justify calling the boy "My Little Dragon". Does he get to have a pretty pink comb, too, and a tattoo of some ice cream on his butt?
conuly: (Default)
So, we know that polyjuice changes you more than just superficially - Crabbe and Goyle became girls (hee), Harry's eyesight improved....

Question: What happens if you polyjuice into the form of somebody who has a fatal form of, say, cancer, and you stay in that form for a while? Will the cancer progress in you and kill you? What if it was something like diabetes, and you didn't know? Could you die that way?

Question: What if *you* have cancer (or whatever)? Can you polyjuice into somebody else's shape, and just stay there forever? Would the disease come with you into this new form?

Question: If the polyjuiced person is sick when you take the sample, sick with something not part of the body, something contagious, can you pick up the disease while in their polyjuiced form, and spend an hour coughing? Can you get sick in your own form that way?

Question: What if you use an old sample to polyjuice? One from a decade ago? Would you polyjuice into the form the person was then?

Question: If that's so, couldn't that be used to extend your lifespan? You could polyjuice into your younger self, so long as you had enough samples, couldn't you?

Question: When the fakemoody polyjuiced into Moody, he lost a leg, which then regrew after the polyjuice potion wore off. What if he'd lost a limb while polyjuiced? Would that remain lost in his real form?
conuly: (Default)
'dul has the week off from his paying job, which he's spending watching the kids and doing his art.

Which gives *me* some time to Read! Read! READ!

Mostly, bad fanfic. I don't know, it's like I'm a glutton for junk food of the mind or something.

I'm itching for some Dudley fic, just to prove it exists, and because my birthday is coming (31st of January) so I thought if I asked now, the birthday fairy would provide.

Hey, I could just post my normal list of toys. For, um, Ana. This is better, isn't it?

I probably will make a few new lists later, which you can feel free to ignore, or read as you please
conuly: (Default)
Here's another thing: What is her obsession with Ron and maroon? Ron's sweater is always maroon. Ron's pyjamas (britspelling!) are maroon. When she buys dress robes for him, they're maroon (with lace, no less!) I find it hard to believe that she honestly couldn't've found another color for his robes.

Ron hates maroon. I mean, he'd probably complain no matter what, but when he consistently tells everyone that he hates maroon, why does his mother go out of her way to keep getting and making him stuff in that color? At the very least, it's thoughtless, or hopelessly stubborn - she's decided that Ron = maroon, and he can just sit there and fume. At the worst, it's deliberately cruel, emphasising that his feelings on his own damn clothes don't matter.

And those dress robes. Honestly, lace? The woman is a homemaker in the most complimentary sense of the word. She knits several sweaters a year. She cleans. She degnomes. She cooks wonderfully. And you're telling me that with all that, and magic too, she can't even do a minor alteration on a (maroon!) robe for her youngest son, such as removing the lace? This is something basic.

And, to add insult to injury, while Ron is getting his ugly-ass robes, Harry's getting his dark green, respectable robes. "To match your eyes, dear". Sure, it was bought with Harry's money (at least we all assume it was - does she have authorization for his account?), but Ron's the one who has to hear his mom fawning over some kid who's not even part of the family, while he gets snapped at for being upset that his robe is really, really, ugly. And maroon.

Ron, dear, it's not because you're poor. I don't believe you're that poor. Why? Well, because when you get to be a prefect, somehow the money comes through for a broom. Not a good broom, but a broom nonetheless - brooms are expensive, even if they're not, right? And when Percy became prefect, he got an owl. An owl is a significant investment when you add in the cost of owl treats and a cage and occasional health care and all. And when your family won the jackpot, they didn't spend the money on anything remotely practical, like adding more space to the house, or socking some of it away just in case. The only concession they made in that part was buying you a new wand to replace that one that was completely ruined last year. No, they splurged it all on a trip to Egypt. I'm not begruding the trip to Egypt, I'm just wondering how poor they are that they can spend extra money on expensive splurges instead of useful things. Given that they're on one income (and all the kids at school), I can't help but wonder if maybe certain parties in that family prefer poverty, for whatever reason.

So Ron, please, rest assured, it's not because you're poor. It's because your mom favors Harry over you. Sorry, ducky.
conuly: (Default)
You've seen this? Good.

What gets me is not all the "proof" that Ron is or could become abusive, but the follow-up that because he's headed in that direction he "will hit Hermione". He will? Why?

Has Ron ever been shown to be particularly violent? I know he's jinxed people - but so does everybody else in that god-forsaken school, and they think this is all in good fun. So, again I say - violent? Won-won? Hermione's more violent than he is!

His lack of violence would not, of course, make him not abusive. I understand that. Indeed, I've often considered that the Weasley household is full of borderline emotional abuse (something I *would* consider a warning sign for what Ron may do in the future - but again, have we ever seen any violence among the family members?) I get that there's other forms of abuse besides hitting people.

But do the authors of this article get that? Because they take this evidence that's kinda sorta convincing (not really, mihi, but I can see how they can come to that conclusion) and then go straight into the twilight zone with this hitting thing. I just don't see it, really.

And I'm posting this just to remind all of youse that yes, there's other forms of abuse out there. Really.

Link from [ profile] ciara_belle
conuly: (Default)
In OotP, we know that people who are in more than one picture can, in their picture-self, travel between pictures. They can leave Hogwarts, say, and visit the Black house. Additionally, there is some ability for movement within the pictures of a building, however that's defined.

Albus Dumbledore kept saying he was happy so long as they "didn't take him off chocolate frog cards!" Is that possibly because his picture-self, by virtue of being on these cards, was able to spy on the entire wizarding world that way?

I can just picture it... Voldie's secret headquarters....

Crabbe: (munching on a chocolate frog) Hey, Goyle? Y'got this one yet?
Goyle: Oh, Dumbledore? Nah, I've got like a million of 'em!
Nagini: ssssssssss...
Voldie: Fee, fie, fo, fum, I smell... YOU FOOLS! CRUCIO!
conuly: (Default)
Yes, when I ask, once more, if anybody has some Dudley fic for me. I know some of youse guys write. Don't you care about me? WHINE! WHINE! Seriously, I'm begging you here. Break free from the mold. Experiment. Write Dudley fic. Please?

This is leading me into two very different thoughts, which, for fun, I'll stick in the same post:

1. I know I do this, but how many others? I often use the phrase "would you?" instead of "please" when speaking, as in "Pass me the potatoes, would you?" Am I alone in this? I can't recall if I've heard other people doing that... (This is prompted by my final please in the first part of this entry)

2. It's very weird how many second-person fics I've seen. You don't ever see this in published works, as far as I know, and I certainly remember being taught that there's only three Points of View in fiction (first person, third person limited, third person omniscient), so why are certain fan fic writers (many of whom are really quite good) being so... experimental? innovative? different? in their writing? It's odd, is all.
conuly: (Default)
What do they do if the non-wizarding parents don't want their child to go to Hogwarts? Is the kid still subject to Ministry laws regarding the use of magic? What if the parents have a good reason (unlike the Dursleys) to prevent their kid from learning magic? Maybe a religious reason, or something...?

And Hagrid! We know there's Kwikspell catalogs used by squibs. Why can't he now study to pass a few OWLs, even some NEWTs and become a qualified wizard? Be allowed to do magic, y'know? Are there age restrictions on those tests or something?

And why exactly doesn't the wizarding world have primary schools? Do they have universities? Is there any option for those who want their children to go to school and have a bit more of a well-rounded education than Hogwarts offers, without having to leave the country...?

Edit: And how many students are in Hogwarts, anyway? We know JKR says about 1,000, which is possible if Gryffindor is the smallest house, but there's a lot of other evidence against this. Carriages hold 3 - 5 students, and it only takes around hundred of them to take all the students into the castle (which sets the school's population at no more than about 600). During the DADA OWL that Harry saw, there's only about 100 seats (which makes the population about 700). Does JKR, in fact, possess basic math skills? Should we converge upon her house with tutors and calculators, and, failing that, decent editors for both her books and her site?
conuly: (Default)
At the end of CoS, Molly makes a big deal about how she had "always said" that you should "never trust anything that can think for itself unless you can see where it keeps its brain!"

That's odd advice, isn't it? Not "don't play with your brother's wand!", or "always wear a helmet when on a broom", or "love potions, they're not for fun", but... don't trust things that can think for themselves? Even accounting for some massive hyperbole here, she has to have said it at least once or twice to think that Ginny would know that! Geez, how often would this even come up?

Then I started thinking about it. People in that word trust thinking objects all the damn time. The Sorting Hat? Where does it keep *its* brain? Arthur's car? I suppose the brain could go under the hood/bonnet.... Hogwarts itself? Even if we don't accept the idea that the school is sentient, it's clearly got some kind of intelligence, or it couldn't keep updating itself! (That, or one of Slytherin's descendents was a plumber....) Heck, it's even got some minor telepathy, or appears to, by which it operates the Room of Requirement (notice that the "bathroom" room of that room has chamber pots - it hasn't been updated. Is this significant?) So what is it about not knowing where the brain is that makes the thinking object untrustworthy, exactly?

*yawns* I'm going back to sleep soon. Hi all.
conuly: (Default)
The whole of his house did, really.

I mean, let's look at what we know:

Hogwarts was founded ~1000 years ago, maybe a little more. That's 1000 years prior to Chamber of Secrets (maybe a little more!), so it'd have to have been founded prior to 1000, in the 900s. That's the Dark Ages, lots of fear of things people didn't understand, lots of ignorance. There was apparently no pre-existing school of wizardry in Britain at the time. Speculation? The wizards, too, were going through a "dark ages", with most of their magical knowledge having been lost - understandable, as there wasn't really a separate wizarding world yet.

Ignorance by muggles led them, with some justification, to fear wizards. And ignorance by wizards led them to fear muggles. How justified this fear was remains to be seen - in Harry's history classes, he's taught that witches and wizards were never really harmed by muggles, but how true is this? More importantly, how true was this when Hogwarts was founded? How true has this ever been for untrained wizard children?

So Slytherin, reasonably, decides that it'd be better to limit admission to students who can be trusted. That's fair - why admit children who will be torn between your world and their families, who might well decide to use what you've taught them against you? There's a fight, and he leaves, leaving his pet basilisk behind. We don't know what he really felt about halfbloods or muggleborns - maybe he really was racist. More likely, he was honestly suspicious about their motives. Who wouldn't be? That doesn't mean he himself thought they were all scum, just that he had a healthy caution about them. If he'd really intended to kill off all the muggleborn children, he'd've done so during his lifetime, instead of waiting for his heir to open the chamber a thousand years in the future. Speculation? The basilisk was intended as a fail-safe, in case his worst fears about the loyalty of the non-purebloods came true.

So, he leaves the school, destination unknown, and now there's three houses and his house in the school. By the time Harry gets there, it's clear that there's some real prejudice from the main three houses against Slytherin, a thousand years after the rift. Even accepting that Harry is biased on the subject, we've still got more insults against Slytherin for being Slytherin than against any of the other houses. More dark wizards than any other house? Is that true, or is it what people believe? And if it's true, is it true because that's how they are, or because people think that's how they are?

I can only imagine it must've been worse when the actual fight happened. Loyalty is clearly a big thing in the wizarding world - Slytherin's students might've been justifiably upset that he was driven out of the school by the other founders, and all sides took the cue from their parental substitutes.

And all he wanted was to keep the kids safe.

Or maybe he was a raving loony, I don't know. We know that Ronald Weasley, not-a-historian, thinks so, anyway - must be a popular view amongst most of Wizarding Britain.
conuly: (Default)
I'm not exactly an old hat at the fandom worlds out there, but I do read a lot. (This is what I say all the time: I don't have any kids, and therefore have never breastfed, but, um, I do read a lot... I don't actually know any ASL other than the sign for "cup", but I do read a lot... I don't know how my mind works (nor yours, for that matter), but, um, I do read a lot....)

Anyway, I've lately noticed something. I don't mind a fic that's written to be "AU", assuming the writer is reasonably competant. It can be an interesting bit of fun, can't it? See what one person thinks would've happened if one tiny thing had been different. And fic that wasn't "AU" when it was written, but is now - sure, I can go with that.

But a tiny thing that the books or the movies or the show say is otherwise, instead of a big change - that irritates me. It really does. Going to Harry Potter, the stories you're most likely to all be familiar with, I can live with Neville being the Boy Who Lived. I can live with certain characters being dead instead of alive, or vice versa. I can deal with slash and so on, no problem. Tell me that a minor character in both books and fic is from a different part of the world than where I *know* they're from? That'll piss me off.

No idea why.

In other news, since I'm supposed to hand over the computer soon, saw the kids today. Ana is such a little actress. Today, I mentioned something involving the word "sleep" to her, and she pretended to lean over and snore. Then, when I said it again, she leaned over more, snored louder. Finally, she flops over dramatically, snores, and gets up going "I wake up!" I almost could've believed her. The new baby is new, and still rather boring. Very quiet, though. I've only heard her cry a few times, and one of those was in the voice mail I got when she was being born, which surely doesn't count. Babies this age remind me of nothing so much as brand new kittens, except bigger and with less fur. Ana, dear one, is torn between being the adoring big sister and being jealous. By their very nature, babies steal attention from older children. Additionally, it's clear she doesn't think it's fair that the baby can nurse all the time, and Ana gets told "no, be patient, you just had milk". When the baby does more than drink milk, I'm sure the apparent unfairness will be more obvious to her.

Just so you know, she seems (right now) to fall more on adoring than jealous. We've only been hyping this new baby for a half a year now, after all... But she gets frustrated that she can't do what she wants with the baby. No, Ana, you can't hold the baby. Ana, you have to be careful around the baby. Ana, the baby already has a hat on. ANA! STOP KISSING HER ALREADY AND LET HER SLEEP! No, she's not going to sing. No, she can't dance. Stop telling her to wake up.
conuly: (Default)
A lot of people have commented disparagingly on the implied "ranking" of the various houses: Clearly, they say, Gryffindor is considered the best, followed by Ravenclaw, then Hufflepuff, then Slytherin, unless you happen to be in Slytherin, and what does being told you're not in the best house do to your precious self-esteem?

Except that this is the viewpoint of a bunch of kids who all ended up in Gryffindor. As I've said before, I'm firmly of the belief that children are sorted into the houses they want to be in. Now, I think this is what makes them who they grow up to be, unlike Dumbledore, who seems to think it just shows who they're going to grow up to be, but that's just a side-conversation.

How do we know that all the other houses have the same ranking system? We know that one kid, impressed at Hermione's knowledge of an advanced spell, was surprised she wasn't in Ravenclaw - clearly, to his mind, his house is best. Hufflepuff is a load of duffers? Maybe - or maybe that's just the view of all the people who aren't Hufflepuffs, and they view themselves differently, the people who support the school. Slytherin means you're gonna be evil? Do the Slytherins know that? Maybe that's a prejudice handed down by the other houses, but as far as they're concerned, they're just interested in 1. being smart and making connections and 2. preserving wizarding traditions, unlike those who'd give up everything they had in order to go with the new.

Maybe they even rank the other houses not just lower than their own houses, but lower than we'd expect. Maybe the Hufflepuffs think that Gryffindors are all irritable, impractical, and flashy - no use to anybody.

Why do we assume that because Harry and his friends, who are Gryffindors think that their house is the best, that means that every other student in the school agrees with the assessment?
conuly: (Default)
We all know that it's A Big Deal to call Voldie by his name - and that an even bigger deal is to call him by his birthname.

So is it at all significant that many people don't refer to Harry by name? I mean, do they really have to waste ink and paper saying The Boy Who Lived, when everybody in the world knows who he is? And now it's the Chosen One, I know.

It'd be really great if this was just some odd wizarding custom or superstition that people shouldn't be called by name. So we'd have everybody running around saying "Hey! You Git! Give this to the One Who Turned and tell him that Old Lemon Drop has turned him down for the position again, in favor of Mad-Eye (hey, his name already works!) under the Muggle Lover's recommendation!"

It'd be great. Ooooh, or maybe they could talk like this:

"Did you hear what You-Know-Who did with You-Know-Who-Else when Whats-His-Name told him that Lord Thingy was out to get him?"

That would be *so cool*.

But, alas, it seems restricted to Harry and Voldy. And maybe Moody... does he count?

In other news, I have acne. This isn't a recent problem, but whenever it pops up again, certain people (hi Jenn!) do tend to bring it up. Lately, everything everybody says to me gets pushed into a song, so now I'm humming "I'm breaking out! I want the world to know, let the pimples show!" over and over and over again. I'm driving me batty.


conuly: (Default)

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